A family practitioner is essentially the “all purpose” doctor. A primary doctor, or family doctor cares for entire families, consisting of men, women, and children, and the spectrum of ailments and issues they may be experiencing. For many who work in the medical field, for example, an Internist, Nurse, or Medical Specialist, their day often consists of the same routine procedures with similar types of patients. For a family doctor, their days can be as diverse as their patients. Family medicine is different, and often preferred, over having a separate doctor for each person, not only for the high quality of care they receive by having a family practitioner who knows the long term health history and lifestyle of his patients and their families, but for the relationship that is built between the patients and the family doctor. A primary doctor cares for the patient as a whole, focusing on mental, emotional, and physical health, to help facilitate a well rounded lifestyle.
Being a patient in family medicine is much like having a well educated extension of your own family. The family practitioner cares for your children throughout their whole lives, sharing in the excitement of milestones, and empathetically treating illnesses. Knowing first hand the health of you and your spouse may directly help in treating your children’s health. A family doctor will also ensure your family receives proper preventative care such as vaccinations and screenings. Your primary doctor is responsible for educating and guiding each family member to make the best decisions for their health. Although your family doctor is knowledgeable in a wide range of areas, he will refer you to medical specialist if need be.
A family doctor will be trained in all of the following areas, but not limited to:
-Men and Women’s reproductive health
-Care for the elderly
-Mental and behavior health
-Ear, Nose and Throat
-Bone and joint care
-Basic screening and testing
-Basic Health Maintenance
A primary doctor will often have the neccesary versitile personality to interact with both adults and children, creating a comfortable space to talk opening about things that might otherwise be uncomfortable for some. However, like any other relationship, it takes time to build up trust and comfortability with a family doctor, so be willing to take time to build the relationship. It’s important to have a family practitioner, whether you have children or not, and regardless of your current health status. An important thing to remember is that family doctors who work in family medicine are experienced in preventative medicine and long term health, not just current health. The old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is key, and avoiding a major illness or an underlying disease could be as simple as attending your routine checkups, and having your primary doctor check for normal bodily functions during each stage of your life. It’s a comfort for many families to have a well known family practitioner with whom they can work together to achieve the best possible overall health.